FSU Football Legend Returning To Tallahassee As Defensive Analyst

The Seminole Legend has officially joined Mike Norvell's coaching staff in Tallahassee
Former North Florida Christian Eagles and Florida State Seminoles football player Ernie Sims hosts
Former North Florida Christian Eagles and Florida State Seminoles football player Ernie Sims hosts / Gerald Thomas / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ernie Sims, an All-American linebacker at Florida State before being the No. 9 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, has joined the Florida State football staff as a defensive analyst, head coach Mike Norvell announced Monday.

"I am so happy to bring Ernie back home into this program," Norvell said. "He was a tremendous player at Florida State and in the NFL, and he has a wealth of football knowledge and experience as a player and coach. This is a wonderful opportunity to continue enhancing our football staff as we work to put our players and coaches in the best position to be successful. Ernie will be able to positively impact our current team as well as future members of the Nole Family through his experiences as the No. 1 overall prospect in the nation out of high school, an All-American at Florida State and a top-10 selection in the NFL Draft."

Sims has seven years of experience working on college staffs, all in the state of Florida, and most recently served as UCF's linebackers coach in 2023. There, he guided Jason Johnson to first-team All-Big 12 recognition after Johnson's total of 114 tackles ranked second in the Big 12 and 26th nationally. The Knights won six games in their first season in the Big 12 and played in the Gasparilla Bowl behind a defense that ranked in the top-five in the conference in passing yards allowed, pass efficiency defense, scoring defense and sacks.

Sims was on staff at South Florida from 2020-22, spending the 2020 season as an analyst before being promoted to linebackers coach in 2021 and serving as the Bulls' defensive coordinator for the final three games of the 2022 season. At South Florida, Sims coached Antonio Grier to second-team All-AAC recognition. Sims began his collegiate coaching career in 2018 as FAU's strength and conditioning coordinator before spending the 2019 season as director of football operations.

"I'm excited for this opportunity to return to Florida State," Sims said. "Tallahassee is my home, and Florida State University played a vital role in my development on and off the field. I've taken lessons that I learned here with me throughout my career, so the opportunity to come back and contribute again to the football program is incredibly meaningful to me. It's been rewarding to watch Coach Norvell build this program back among the best in the nation. I'm grateful to be joining his staff and can't wait to see what the future has in store for Florida State."

At the time of his selection by the Detroit Lions, Sims was the 12th top-10 pick from Florida State. He was named to the All-Rookie Team in 2006 after starting all 16 games of his rookie season and recording 124 tackles. His 134 tackles in 2007 ranked fourth in the league. Appearing in 109 games for the Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys over his eight-year NFL career, Sims accumulated 623 total tackles, with 26.0 for loss and 5.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception.

A Tallahassee native, Sims attended North Florida Christian and was rated the No. 1 overall recruit nationally in the Class of 2003. In his three seasons at Florida State, Sims helped the Seminoles win 27 games and two ACC championships, including the inaugural ACC Championship Game over No. 5 Virginia Tech in 2005. He was named a first-team All-American in 2004 and finished his career with 200 tackles, 21.0 for loss with 7.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.

Sims returned to school after his NFL career and completed his bachelor's degree in social science from Florida State in 2018. He and his wife, Brooke, have four children, Ernie IV, Major, Savannah and Bella.

*Press release courtesy of Florida State Athletics

Stick with NoleGameday for more coverage of Florida State football throughout the spring

Follow NoleGameday on and TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and TikTok

Dustin Lewis


Lewis joined NoleGameday in 2016 and is currently in the role of Editor-In-Chief. A graduate of Florida State, Lewis contributes to football, recruiting, and basketball coverage. Connect with Dustin on Twitter at @DustinLewisNG.